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Mixed start on Wall Street...Pricier offerings boost Pepsi profits...Penny per ounce tax in Chicago?

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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are off to a mixed start on Wall Street as losses for big department stores and materials companies outweigh gains in health care. Kohl's slid 0.6 percent in early trading Tuesday, and Nordstrom lost 0.5 percent. FMC Corp. fell 1.8 percent. The Dow has edged into positive territory, while the S&P 500 is little changed in the first hour of trading. The Nasdaq is gradually rising, up about 15 points.

NEW YORK (AP) — Pricier snacks and drinks have boosted PepsiCo's North American sales. The company says its profit rose 5 percent in the second quarter to $2.11 billion, or $1.46 per share. Earnings excluding non-recurring costs were $1.50 per share. PepsiCo, like other major packaged food makers, is working on cutting costs and transforming its product lineup to reflect shifting tastes. It's also trying to push up revenue with pricier products since increasing sales volume can be difficult. The push has included the introduction of Lifewtr, a bottled water intended to compete with Coca-Cola's Smartwater.

CHICAGO (AP) — An Illinois appeals court has upheld a temporary restraining order that's preventing Cook County's sweetened beverage tax from taking effect. The decision comes ahead of a planned hearing in the case tomorrow. Cook County is counting on raising $67.5 million with the penny-per-ounce tax through Nov. 30. The Illinois Retail Merchants Association and several grocers say the tax is vague and unconstitutional.

CHICAGO (AP) — An investor group headed by a former Chicago city council member that includes labor unions says it has secured enough money to buy and operate the Chicago Sun-Times. Edwin Eisendrath tells the Sun-Times that the group met a U.S. Department of Justice deadline to prove it has funds to operate the newspaper. Bob Reiter of the Chicago Federation of Labor said investors raised "in excess of $11.2 million."

IRVING, Texas (AP) — 7-Eleven stores across the country are giving away free Slurpee drinks to celebrate the convenience store chain's 90th birthday. This marks the 16th straight year 7-Eleven has given out its iconic frozen drink on July 11th or 7/11. The company expects to hand out 9 million free small Slurpees during the promotion that runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time.

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